Social Proof: Turning Customers into Fans

Diamond Candles is a store on the Shopify platform that sells organic soy candles with a catch – at the end of every candle contains a ring that can be worth up to $5,000 USD. Started in January 2011, Diamond Candles now has over 90,000 fans on Facebook. Customers share  pictures, videos, and reviews with the entire community as purchasing a product has become an unique experience of its own. Their website has no web copy marketing their products, which brings us to one of the most important lessons in doing business online:

What other people say are more important than what you say about yourself.

Diamond Candles - Social Proof: Turning Customers Into Fans Case Study (Build My Online Store)

Playlist with 55+ Video Reviews from Customers (since removed)

Diamond Candles - Social Proof: Turning Customers Into Fans Case Study (Build My Online Store)

Last Purchase, 4 Minutes Ago

Diamond Candles - Social Proof: Turning Customers Into Fans Case Study (Build My Online Store)

34 Candles at $24.95 each = ?

Diamond Candles - Social Proof: Turning Customers Into Fans Case Study (Build My Online Store)

Customers Taking on Customer Service

A couple screenshots shows us the different aspects of social proof:

  1. Wisdom of the User: Testimonials, Feedback, and Live Purchases
  2. Wisdom of the Crowd: 50+ separate video reviews posted by customers
  3. Wisdom of Friends: 90,000+ likes on Facebook

 

So How Do I Get Started?

One way is to start is to gather feedback from your current customers and use them as testimonials.  Here are the three questions you want to ask, that tie in a before/after story, buying advice for a friend, and positive feedback. Essentially they all ask the same thing, but the approach is from different angles you can utilize:

  1. How, specifically, did our product change the way you [achieved the benefit / do whatever the product does] previously?”
  2. What would you say to a friend who was thinking of buying, but wasn’t sure?
  3. If you feel it is warranted, feel free to leave us a testimonial in the box below.

But not all testimonials are created equal, and some may backfire if they don’t sound right. Some examples:

  • I found your product very useful. (Vague)
  • I love your product! It’s the best one I’ve ever had and I can’t beleive it! (Gushy)
  • I appreciate your valiant effort in tackling this treacherous subject. (Polished)
  • This is the best product on the market, I encourage everyone to get it! (Fake)

 

The Achilles Heel of Social Proof

If you don’t have a great product or shopping experience that delights customers and causes them to recommend it to your friends,  a great social proof strategy won’t be effective. As a business owner, how can you know if your product is great? Here are a couple of metrics you can use to gauge:

  • Organic Traffic Growth – Is my website naturally drawing more visitors?
  • Reviews and Ratings – Are my customers Promoters, Passives, or Detractors?
  • Repeat Purchases – Do I need to constantly acquire new customers?
  • Viral Coefficient – What % of my daily visitors and users are sharing with others?
  • Klout Score – What’s my true reach, amplification, and score of my influence?

 

Other Tips:

  • Include real photos of your products instead of all stock photos as most of your customers don’t have airbrushed faces.
  • Include videos of your products. Behind the scenes, production, and fulfillment goes a long way to show the story.
  • Get current customers to do a video review of your products.
  • Don’t use initials for customer reviews – “TL, BMOS” sounds much weaker than “Terry Lin, Build My Online Store”.
  • Consider giving away a few products for free to get reviews and feedback.
  • Contact influencers in your markets and put your product in front of them.
  • Don’t be afraid to test, you can find out what works and what doesn’t very quickly.

Remember – the goal is to show that real people are using our products, and what they say is more important than what you say. Before we go, I’ll leave you with an interview with Justin of Diamond Candles to get more insights about their business (update it has been removed from Youtube). Enjoy!

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